Niklas Hjalmarsson saw red over disallowed goal
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org May 30, 2013 12:06AM
Updated: July 2, 2013 7:20AM
Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson wanted to throw his stick into the United Center stands. The typically mild-mannered Swede was that incensed — that enraged that his potential series-deciding goal was waved off.
“I went blank from there — I got so mad,” Hjalmarsson said. “I didn’t see the situation. But it doesn’t really matter now.”
Of course not.
The Hawks overcame it in their rousing 2-1 victory against the hated Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals on Wednesday. Defenseman Brent Seabrook scored the game-winner 3 minutes, 35 seconds into overtime.
Hjalmarsson’s apparent goal in the final two minutes of regulation was waved off by referee Stephen Walkom because of coincidental penalties away from the play on Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey and Hawks winger Brandon Saad. Quincey had shoved Saad into the Detroit bench and the two tussled to the ice as play continued.
“I didn’t do anything,” Saad said. “I don’t know why the coincidental was called. But it is what it is.
“I just grabbed onto the guy so I didn’t fall into the bench. . . . I was shocked when the linesman told me I was going to the box.”
Coach Joel Quenneville said he didn’t ask for an explanation from the officials, while Red Wings coach Mike Babcock contended afterward that there should have been a tripping penalty called on the Hawks, upon seeing center Henrik Zetterberg tumble to the ice. The only word from the NHL’s war room in Toronto was that play was blown dead.
“Seabs scored a huge goal for us,” Hjalmarsson said. “If we would have lost, it would have been a tough one. But now that we won, it doesn’t really matter too much.”
What does matter is that the Hawks were able to put it behind them, a fitting ending to a series that saw them fall behind 3-1.
It might have helped the Hawks that the period ended shortly after Walkom’s call. Patrick Kane said the message during the intermission was “forget about it and move on.” It gave them a chance to refocus.
“I don’t know if you saw me but it’s pretty clear, I almost threw my stick up in the crowd,” Hjalmarsson said. “For me personally, I needed a breather. I was pretty upset there for a while.”